What Can You Do?

I barely hung on as I got deep into a 200-dollar buy-in tournament. I literally folded every hand since the start. I didn’t win a single hand but I didn’t play any either, so my stack was seeping away slowly. I didn’t see two cards over ten at the same time. The closest thing to a good hand I’d had all night was Jack-9 offsuit.

Even when I was in the big blind, I didn’t get to see a flop. The guy two seats to my right, who was always on the button when I was in the big blind, raised every single chance he had. We called him Tallboy because he always stacked his chips higher than he should have in a tall, wobbly, single tower. Most of us who had played with him often threatened to destroy his tower, either by winning it or knocking it over.

I had two and a half big blinds left when Tallboy raised on the button again. I looked down at 2-3 offsuit. Given that I barely had any chips left, I should have called, but I held up the cards so everyone could see then tossed them in the muck. “What can you do?” Tallboy consoled.

“I can push your chips over,” I joked and Tallboy laughed.

The next hand, I was in the little blind and looked down at 2-3, again, this time it was suited. I contemplated just giving up, tossing my chips in and taking my chances but someone in early position raised, and Tallboy reraised, so I folded knowing I had exactly one big blind left.

“What can you do?”

I had seven hands before my big blind came around and I would be forced all-in. I was ready to push with any sort of hand. A baby Ace or a small pair would have seemed like a monster. I would have settled for anything better than the 2-5, 6-3, 9-2 that I’d been seeing so far. Instead it was more of the same, but worse. I didn’t see two cards over five at the same time.

I was under the gun, with my big blind coming the next hand that would force me to put in the rest of my chips when I looked down at 9-5 offsuit. At least I had a nine, a relatively high card for this night. But I had to think if the 9-5 was better than what I was likely to get on the next hand. Of course it wasn’t so I folded, knowing that I’d be all-in on the next hand no matter what. Turns out, I should have played the 9-5 because the flop came down 9, 5, 5, but what can you do?

I put out the remainder of my chips the next hand to cover my big blind. I didn’t bother looking at my cards. Everyone folded to Tallboy who matched my blind with just a few chips off the tower he had in front of him. I turned my cards over—Pocket Queens. Finally, an actual hand worth playing. Too bad I didn’t have many chips.

Tallboy turned over Ace-9 and the dealer dropped the flop—Ace, King, 2. Neither the turn nor the river gave me any help and Tallboy plopped my chips onto the top of his tower. “What can you do?” he offered with a shrug. I shrugged back and knocked over his tower of chips on my way to the door.